Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Lets see how this goes....

I have a childhood friend who is a realtor in the Seattle market. Three months ago her market was basically mirroring ours. Houses were selling in 6 days.

Today I talk to her and asked if they were getting mark downs yet. She's like - Oh yeah. If your house hasn't sold in 11 days - you have to mark it down. (mind you - that used to be 30 days)

Now.. I'm sort of one of those people who has called bullshit on the housing "bubble" talk, but that is becoming a harder position to hold right now. There clearly is a housing shortage because during the recession nothing got built for an abnormally long amount of time. 3 times the normal recession cycle. Given the available land, that is hard to make up for when times get better.

However - it is not normal for housing markets to double in five years. The historical standard has been 10 years. And just like during the recession when everyone was giving up their houses I had to decide if that was reality or a historical anomaly.

I think doubling in five years is not normal and things will revert to the mean. Everyone seems to think this is just the normal summer slowdown. But there haven't been price markdown for YEARS. So I'm not sure how this is going to go honestly. The market has changed really rapidly though.


  1. Capital of Texas RefugeeThursday, August 02, 2018 2:48:00 PM

    Seattle went insane, and I am happy to have moved away even if the circumstances in which that had to happen really sucked ...

    When I was living there, I was in a nice neighborhood near downtown with some price stability. Rents were stable, housing prices were stable or going down gradually, and all of this without price controls.

    Then Amazon moved into South Lake Union, knocked down a bunch of old buildings, and sent many of the former residents of the mixed industrial area into other neighborhoods. That was bad enough, but then Amazon's people wanted to live near work.

    My old place was roughly a fifteen block walk through South Lake Union and the Denny Regrade across mostly flat ground, somewhat of a rarity in Seattle.

    Prices of all of the apartments near my old place more than doubled within four years, and house prices also started to trend up very quickly. The pressure on pricing all came from Amazon's people who could bid up the prices with cash from their jobs.

    Seattle's so ridiculously overflowing with money that they're apparently going to build bike lanes through parts of Belltown and Downtown Seattle at a cost of over one million American Smackaroonies per mile.

    Prior to Amazon's big build-out, they were relatively self-contained in the International District at some rented buildings they had across from Uwajimaya, the well-known Japanese grocery store. What they had when I left was already an order and a half of magnitude bigger on a log 10 scale than what they had in the ID, and they hadn't even managed to get their new HQ building approved by the planning people at that point.

    I think I'm done trying to mess with big cities that are a real estate hot mess though. My latest R&R trip over to Wells led me to wander around some of the other towns in the area, and I spent some time doing without a lot of stuff that I had become used to in Miami. (But when Waitrose expands to America, I'll be a very, very happy guy.)

    When you get tired of the Bay Area nonsense, there's Seaside, Florida, which you've seen if you've watched "The Truman Show". (The Miami Connection, BTW: DPZ in Coral Gables designed that place with the help of a well-regarded urban planner.)

    It may be called The Redneck Riviera, but it's a lot more genteel these days, and the locals refer to the area as "30 A". :-)

  2. Yeah, I think my GF told me Amazon was hiring 100 people each and every day. That is a lot for any city. That's like 3000 people every month and it went on for a long time.

    You seem strangely conservative for spending time in Seattle. I come from a small town NW of there. They have hated Californians as long as I have been alive. I didn't even think you guys were allowed to talk to us.

  3. Capital of Texas RefugeeFriday, August 03, 2018 3:10:00 PM

    Oh, yeah, I'm quite familiar: I'm more anarcho-capitalist or perhaps anarcho-syndicalist than I am a "libertarian" or a "conservative", and I generally treat "liberals" like frustrated little Baby Communists ...

    The "libertarians" hated me because I didn't want to sign up for their peculiar form of tyranny by consent. The "conservatives" hated me because I tend toward so much laissez-faire that I seem to be the left of radical Montrealers. The hard-core anarchists hated me because I was willing to make deals with the kinds of people they believe are Not One Of Them.

    And as for the "liberals", if you don't drink their Flavor-Aid, you're Not One Of Them anyway, and they hate you just for that, but in my case they hated me even more because I wouldn't buy into any of the absolute crap they were selling.

    Because I wasn't from Seattle, and because I was from a Much Cooler Place Than Seattle (yes, shocking) with Music Festivals That People Actually Remember, they hated me for that as well.

    It was like living in Sweden again without the benefits of living in Sweden again.

    I lived in Seattle mostly for the climate, which is why I keep going back to Wells in Somerset: the maritime climate suits me a lot better than this tropical or sub-tropical crap in the Southeast.

    But flying to anywhere in Europe sucked hard because of the location: I flew SEA-MIA a lot because I could have a reasonable stay-over. When Washington decided I was Not One Of Them in an official manner, I decided I could cut that flight out entirely and just stay in Miami.

    Now I have a short flight into Miami from a very small airport, but it's not so bad: there are like eighty taxi companies that'll pick you up and take you anywhere in the region, and they're all reasonably priced.

    Something about letting the market work without over-regulation, I think. :-)

    A few of the counties up this way don't require business licenses, and the others that do charge a simple flat rate that's cheap (usually below $100) just so they can pay for the cost of registration to the state.

    But there was one place in the Seattle metro area where I was treated like a local: Bainbridge Island. It probably didn't hurt that I ran into one of my old neighbors who had fled Austin, but I think it's more because Bainbridge Island really hates Seattle and wants to be "exceptionally good" on its own without all of the leveler crap.

    Anyone who isn't an asshole who is rejected by Seattle probably will find a welcoming home out on "the island" ... :-)

    Otherwise ... northwest of Seattle, eh?

    You're much too well-adjusted to be from Port Angeles. :-)

  4. Awe.. that's just the sweetest thing to say. Although at this stage I think all the work it took to become well adjusted was a complete waste of time. There are so many crazy people now, being well adjusted is worthless.

    Not Port Angeles. Slightly less North but way more West. A vampire series filmed there. Very small town, sun never shines. That kind of thing.

    I'm not sure what I'd lable myself as. Mostly I think I'm just a capitalist.